ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — With bear hunting season now two weeks away, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters not to shoot radio-collared research bears.

DNR researchers are monitoring 35 radio-collared black bears, mostly in northwestern Minnesota. The bears have large, colorful ear tags or streamers hanging from the collars.

“Hunters near these areas should be especially vigilant for these valuable research bears,” said Dave Garshelis, DNR bear research biologist. “These animals provide long-term data on reproduction and habitat use that is invaluable for bear management across the state.”

Bear research also is being conducted between Ely and Tower in northern St. Louis County, and it’s the life’s work of Dr. Lynn Rogers at the North American Bear Center. After more than four decades of research, Rogers’ n protective instincts kick in every fall as bear hunting season begins. He’ll soon post signs here welcoming hunters, but hopes they’ll also heed a warning.

“These bears are so valuable to science, education, and economics of the region, please spare them,” said Rogers.

Last year, Rogers says the lack of protection targeted his work, when a hunter shot Sarah, one of his 12 research bears.

“Sarah was wearing bright ribbons and we had photographed her with those ribbons on just the night before, and you cannot miss the ribbons,” said Rogers.

He says some see a tagged bear as a trophy. Last year, a Facebook page put a bulls eye on Lily, calling her a Bear with a Bounty.

It’s an unfair game to Rogers and the DNR, who hope in a new season, hunters hesitate.

“Any of these bears is irreplaceable. The worst ones to lose are the older bears we have long histories on. Each year these bears become more valuable because of their research history and the trust that builds every year,” said Rogers. “We are not asking them not to shoot any bears. Please spare the study bears,” he said.

Some people have called for a ban on shooting radio-collared bears. But the DNR said in some situations it may be impossible for a hunter to see the radio collar or ear tags. So, while discouraged, it is not illegal to shoot a collared bear.

The DNR is asking hunters who do shoot collared bears should call the DNR Wildlife Research office in Grand Rapids at 218-327-4146 or 218-327-4133.

Comments (58)
  1. Jackie Du Charme says:

    The DNR is not showing us anything new. Its Dr Rogers group of bears in Ely that are educational. The DNR did not ask hunters not to shoot the Ely bears with collars on them because they think their research is better? Not. The DNR needs to let the researchers of Ely take over because they know more and are willing to share with the public what they have learned.

  2. BWAB says:

    I sure wish WCCO would contact the owner of the bear with a bounty page. shame on you Lindsay for cutting johns segment and not doing some research on your own.

  3. Prescription Drugs says:

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  4. Eric says:

    Bears are such easy targets for hunters, why the heck would they want to shoot a collard bear?

    1. Alex says:

      Why shoot bears in the first place?

  5. Hunter's Rights says:

    I’m so sick of big government and Twin Cities liberals trying to tell us how to live. I’ll shoot any bear I want. In fact, I’ll shoot the collared bears first.

    1. Superchik1017 says:

      Go ahead and shoot, but if one day, a bear so happens to break into your home and damages your property, you can only blame yourself. These bears provide a valuable service to research and the MN economy. Knowing the migration pattersn, eating patterns and where a bear is or might be at any time saves many human lives. No one is telling you you can’t shoot bears. Just please be mindful of the ones with ribbons and collars.

      1. mushroom stamper says:

        you need to get stamped!

    2. john says:

      If you were mauled to death by one of these bears the collective IQ of this state would go up. Your comment is a sound bite. Big government, blah, blah, blah. LIberals, blah, blah, blah. Tell me how to live, blah, blah, blah. Your contribution to anything is nothing.

    3. jan says:

      Yes, you are so sick, it’s all about you, isn’t it?

    4. Mairi says:

      You’re a jerk. But you no doubt know that.

  6. Bearly a reason says:

    What exactly is it we are gainng or learning from this research other than Doctor Lynn Rogers is living nicely on government grants that is

    1. Hunter's Rights says:

      That’s right! I think we ought to shoot ALL the research bears and put this egg-head liberal out of business. Why should she get a free ride when the rest of us have to WORK?

      1. Mark says:

        Yes, what can you learn by studying things? Obviously nothing… maybe that’s just you though. Exactly how is studying bears and writing research papers a free ride? Do you really want that job? I know I don’t, but I still want us to know more about bears and their behavior. Conservation means knowing about what you are trying to conserve. Maybe you are one of those hunters that thinks wild animals are an unlimited resource and requires no supervision to make sure they aren’t driven to extinction.

      2. me says:

        Will all the meat organic/natural and otherwise…what other reason do you need to shoot wild life in the first place. Sounds to me like you hunt for sport and not for meat so as far as I am concerned…it’s wrong. It would be one thing if you actually NEEDED to hunt for your meat to survive but…We aren’t living in the wild wild west anymore where you need to hunt for food. So either way you’re an uncompassionte person.

        1. Botanist says:


          Without hunting seasons, we would all know multiple people who died from car/deer collisions. There’s your compassion.

          If you don’t even know why hunters can and do hunt, then why do you feel qualified to make a statement on wildlife conservation or management in the first place?

          Do us all a favor and just read and don’t comment.

          1. me says:

            Why does Hunter’s Rights feel the need to shoot marked Bear when they have other bear they can shoot? I will do no one a favor since Hunter’s Rights doesn’t seem to want to do anyone a favor and hunt the ones that aren’t clearly marked. How’s that for compassion.

      3. Lisa says:

        Perhaps if you read any of the research papers, you might learn something. Like the fact that Dr. Rogers is a man, not a woman.

    2. Guest says:

      Just a clarification, Dr. Lynn Rogers’ researched is not funded by the government, all expenses are supported by donations or paid out of his own pocket.

      As for the purpose, learning the true behavior of the bears as opposed to inaccurate assumptions about them will aid in bear management and eliminate conflicts, enablinge people to coexistence with bears.

      The shorter-sighted folks may be unable to see the benefits of this research due to their ignorance (I’m sure you’re not one of them?), but saying that Lynn Rogers’ study is pointless would be like the hypocrites saying that particle physics and their researches are unuseful money-suckers, while shamelessly enjoying the technology brought by the previous achievements of this study.

  7. Whatever says:

    hunters Rights. ……..Seriously get a clue and a life!!!!! You aren’t a real hunter if you shoot the collared bears!!! Work for your trophy you wuss.

  8. Whatever says:

    Hunters Rights, I would also bet you bait deer. If you even really hunt! You are a joke

  9. Mary says:

    The work that Lynn Rogers has done on researching bears is invaluable. We are learning how bears live and love with their family. What happens after family breakup when a yearling leaves after a year with their mama bear. What really happens during hibernation. If you are a ethical hunter you will not shoot a deer before knowing it’s a doe or a buck, why not spare these valuable bears.

    1. Kate Gibbons says:

      Why would you shoot a collared bear first? Just plain meanness? To break the hearts of all the school kids that are learning from them? Boy, aren’t you proud of yourself? Nobody is “telling” you what to do. They simply and quite reasonably ASKED that you not shoot the valuable bears. I support responsible hunting. What you suggest is anything but responsible. It’s just mean, selfish and childish.

  10. MrB says:

    I just wish there was a season for humans, “Hunter’s Rights” guy would be the first one in my crosshairs!!!!

  11. Just Asking says:

    @Hunter’s Rights. They are not telling you how to live. They are ASKING you to not shoot their research bears. You can certainly shoot all the collared bears you want legally. I’m guessing you’re also the kind of hunter that shoots your neighbors pet dog because it chased a deer, just because you legally can. I’m thinking the ear tag and colored ribbons are going to look really stupid on your bear rug though.

  12. MrB says:

    Hunter’s right guy is the type of guy who takes his little boy out into the woods with the 410 gauge and a six pack of beer and has him shoot a robin and then gives him a sip of beer and say’s “nice job son” you are now a hunter!

  13. Sharon S. says:

    Good for WCCO for trying to get the word out NOT to shoot the research bears. I have been following Lily and the rest for years now and I can’t believe how much I have learned about black bears. I am only one of thousands throughout the world who had been educated about this wonderful animal through Dr. Rogers work. These bears are so valuable his research. I’m sure if you insist on hunting bears (that is another story all together) you can find ones without collars. Please spare these bears. Where is the Minnesota Nice?

  14. Mary says:

    Hunter Rights Lynn Rogers is a man not a woman and he works hard every day up to 15 hours each day to research these bears. Please go to and you can read up on the research being done each day. He is not against bear hunting, he and the DNR are just asking hunters to spare their research bears.

  15. MN sportsman says:

    How many collared bears are too much? 12 for Dr. Rogers and 35 for the DNR? I think Minnesota hunters are fine with bears being researched and there are ~7500 permits given this year, but the chances of seeing one when hunting is increasing. Sure the research is interesting, but lets face it, bears are opportunistic feeders that have a very good survival rate. How much is too much?

    1. Mark says:

      0.2% of the bear population roughly is tagged… is that really a big concern that you’ll be deprived of your bear? Seriously? It’s not even a half a percent of the population. If bear survival rates are so good then bears should be plentiful and your concerns are ridiculous.

    2. Lisa says:

      The DNR states that there are 20,000 blacjk bears in Minnesota. Are yoiu seriously saying that you can’t find another bear, besides these 47, to shoot?

  16. gonzo says:

    If I remember correctly the bear population in Minnesota is around twenty thousand and growing. There should be plenty of opportunities for hunters and few reasons to shoot a collared bear. Note that those individuals advocating the targeting of research animals have been angered by the anti-hunting propaganda stirred up by the flap over Roger’s controversial research project. I would ask my fellow hunters to please resist the urge to meet ignorance and insult with anger. Good luck, good hunting, and watch for those collars.

    1. Reasons says:

      While I retain a neutral view on bear-hunting as a sport, I must remind you that Lynn Rogers himself is in favor of bear hunting as means of population control. I presume that you are aware of this, but you comment may be misleading to some and could discredit the researcher of his actually reasonable point of view.

  17. Kevin says:

    The DNR also bands duck,geese, moose etc for research. Should we start naming the ducks Big Bird, Ernie, Larry Moe and Curly and expect hunters not to shoot the banded birds because they were named by some idiot, and a hunter cannot see the bands. DNR just do your job and stop baby sitting Lynn Rogers

    1. Botanist says:

      Shut up, fool.

      If you want to make a comparison, make a valid one, or else just keep your senseless babbling to yourself. I’m embarrassed FOR you, after reading your comment.

  18. John W. Noraas says:

    The DNR and Lynn Rogers alleged research are two seperate entitites, Lynn Rogers has never had peer reviews of his habituation and contaminated close contact studies. Time for some to grow out of the land Disney and make believe. I truly hope no one is harmed or property destroyed by these animals who have been made into half wild pets.

    1. John W. Noraas says:

      Read the report of Dr. Stephen Herrero among others on the results of habituated bears directly correlated to bear attacks on humans. Hopefully a child does not the pay the price for someone putting pretty bows and feeding their pet….the question should be why is WCCO not researching this issue more fully.

    2. Guest says:

      Good news for you, then, because the number of reports on problem bears is much lower in the area than anywhere else.

  19. Mary says:

    Kevin if you read the story they are asking for protection of the DNR’s research bears and Lynn Roger’s research bears. If you cannot see the bright ribbons, how are you going to see an orange vest of a hunter?

  20. Matt Qvale says:

    By asking people not to shoot collard bears the DNR is putting a bias in their data collection on bear mortality. By adding a bias in any study the data they collect will not be a true representation on the animals life. If bear hunting is allowed in an area that is being researched the collared bears should be a fair target just the same as the non collared bears. Any researcher on any animal, plant or insect should strive to eliminate any form of bias in their data collection so not to gather skewed data.

    1. Mark says:

      Shooting bears is considered as a bias to the bear mortality rate. That is what skews the data on bears. You wouldn’t consider murder rates if you wanted to know whether the lifespan of humans was increasing or decreasing due to health. Think before you speak.

  21. Mary says:

    Matt you’re missing the point in the story. Why would anyone want to shoot a research bear when the findings are so valuable. The studies would have to start all over and would cost the state millions of dollars.

  22. John W. Noraas says:

    The studies don’t cost the state anything cause Rogers research is tainted, unpublished for review, and are of a polluted sample. This is garbage research. Furthernore do not lump in the work of the DNR biologists with Rogers they are two completely seperate programs not co research. How can you study bears without taking into consideration mortality by accident, hunting, or natural causes? Again this is biased research. Rogers has even had his research permit revoked for killing bears.

    1. Guest says:

      You are right, the DNR studies general patterns of the wildlife while Lynn Rogers observes the nature of the bear behavior. Whether to think if being able to predict the animal’s behavior would reduce conflict is up to you, but I’d be more comfortable in the wild knowing how to act in an encounter than constantly nervous to kill anything on sight.

      Dr. Rogers’ research need the bears alive to study their family behavior, social pattern, etc, and would be much more useful than simply being a rotting carcass hung on the wall.

  23. Mary says:

    John you’re wrong the studies the DNR does cost the state. This story isn’t just Lynn Roger’s research bears, but the DNR’s research bears too.

  24. John W. Noraas says:

    There is a big difference from the DNR research and Rogers. Rogers has degenerated this situation into a media circus for his pets and money makers. This is a shameful example of politics and media manipulation to further his agenda by riding the coattails of real researchers actively pursuing knowlege. It is shameful to even compare these two programs. How about this we remove all bears from this area and move them down to the Twin Cities than you can watch them all really up close and personal, name them, put bows on them, and then finally deal with them…..

  25. MARK says:

    I would pay $100 to watch Hunter’s Rights be eaten alive by a bear.

  26. Botanist says:

    Why would anybody want to kill a bear in the first place?

    You’re not planning on eating it are you?

    1. Mark says:

      Actually bears are quite tasty if you like game meat. Why else would you shoot one. They aren’t thrilling to hunt… unless you’re going to use a bowie knife. Killing for a pelt alone would be a waste. Still, no reason to shoot a research animal. Shoot the next bear that comes along.

      1. Botanist says:

        It’s really not hunting, if you ask me. It’s an execution. Most bear hunts involve either sitting over a bait pile and sniping it, or having dogs tree it for you, and then you and your beer drinking buddies all laugh as you dodge the carcass flying at you from 30 feet up. (I don’t mean “you” as in you personally, Mark…

  27. Mary says:

    John you should do your research before you speak. Yes, there is a big difference in the research. The DNR tranquilizes their bears and Doc Rogers does not. Please go to and read the research.

    1. John W. Noraas says:

      Yes my point exactly Rogers uses dog food to habituate bears at prime time where they will go out and invade homes, property and get agressive with people. Whereas real researchers use low impact winter contact during hibernation to not habituate bears to human dependance perhaps you should read every accredited study done by state biologists as well as independent study by colleges.

      1. Guest says:

        On the contrary, observations have shown that the bears did not become dependent on the food but preferred natural food sources despite them being considerablly less nutritious. In addition, the habituated bears are wary of all but the researchers, and avoided any sites of human activity. Thus did not increase their tendancy of human contact.

        That was according to the research works of Lynn Rogers. Meanwhile, statistics also shows that areas where a study involving divisionary feeding was carried out had the least number of bear problems compared to neighbouring areas (more or less equally populated by human).

        And just a modest request, would you mind listing some of the “accredited studies” as you referenced that gives evidences that habituation by divisionary feeding jeopardizes public safety? Just to make your claim a bit more credible.

  28. kevin says:

    Mary, I’ve been hunting for approx 50 years and if a collared bear showed up on my property and I deamed it an animal to harvest-one without cubs etc. I would harvest it collar or not. Nothing like a good rug steak on a saturday night with a couple of MGD’S.

  29. John W. Noraas says:

    I hope his program is properly insured for when one of their pets turn and someone gets injured. The state is allowing this dog and pony show as well so they and the taxpayers I am sure would also be involved.

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